Brian Dunbar Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

August 10, 1994 (Phone: 202/358-1547) Release: 94-132 FRENCH SPACE AGENCY HONORS TOPEX-POSEIDON TEAM The French space agency honored members of the U.S.-French TOPEX/POSEIDON management team today by awarding them the CNES Medal in recognition of their achievements. The Centre Nationale d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) awards the medal periodically in recognition of highly successful projects. CNES General Director Jean-Daniel Levi presented the award to seven team members from NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.; NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif.; and the CNES project office. Receiving the award were: Dr. Lee-Leung Fu, JPL Project Scientist; W. Linwood Jones, NASA Kennedy Space Center, former NASA Program Manager; Dr. Michel Lefebvre, CNES Project Scientist; Dr. William Patzert, JPL, former Program Scientist; William Townsend, Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Mission to Planet Earth, and former NASA Program Manager; Dr. W. Stanley Wilson, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Assistant Administrator, National Ocean Service, former NASA Program Scientist; and Charles Yamarone, JPL Project Manager. Launched August 10, 1992, TOPEX/POSEIDON is studying the topography of the oceans, providing scientists with the data they need to better understand how ocean circulation distributes heat around the Earth and how the oceans affect climate. In two years, the satellite has completed 9,350 orbits and 69, ten-day science data-gathering cycles, collecting more than one trillion bits of data. The satellite is measuring sea level to an accuracy of 2.2 inches (5.7 centimeters), and the data have been distributed to the international science team for their analysis. TOPEX/POSEIDON is the first mission to provide such precise and accurate observations of sea level, allowing scientists to study

complex global ocean dynamics. Eventually, scientists will use the data to help them determine how ocean currents contribute to world-wide climate change. - end -

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